READERS OF The Irish Times were presented with an offer last week to buy the “perfect Valentine’s gift for her”. The offer featured a luxury jewellery set from New Romantic Jewellery, which turns out to be the company established by one Niamh Patten – whose other claim to fame is a relationship with the low profile uber-rich philanthropist and aviation entrepreneur, Declan Ryan, son of Ryanair founder Tony. Indeed, the multi-talented Deco is a director of the fledgling jewellery business.
A company called NP2 Jewellery Ltd, incorporated in 2006 by Patten and her mother, Alice, registered the New Romantic name in 2016 around the time Julieann Fearon came on board, although Patten holds all the shares here. Last October, shortly after the pair’s new retail store was opened on Drury Street, Dublin 2, New Romantic’s latest range was launched by the duo at a bash in the Drury Buildings attended by the likes of Chloe Townsend and Cassie Stokes.
Although Patten and Fearon are the public faces of New Romantic, Ryan has been in situ as a director of the limited entity since June 2015. Patten and her loaded fellow director have been an item for a few years and in 2014 popped up as the new owners of an impressive six-bedroom pile on Harcourt Street in Dublin 2 having lashed out €2.5m ahead of a planned auction (€700,000 above the advised minimum value). A subsequent planning application in the pair’s joint names, essentially to provide a new entrance and space to park their cars, was shot down following objections.
This is only one of several properties owned by the minted Declan Ryan. He also has an impressive pile outside Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, and another property nearby on the Bray Road. In 2016 he is also understood to have bought out the interests of other Ryan family members in the remarkable Lyons Demesne – on the market at one stage in 2009 for €80m.
Although Ryan has a multitude of business interests mostly in aviation, New Romantic is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the only jewellery business where his name appears. Another of his ventures is NCP Properties Ltd, set up in 2015 for the “development of building projects”, including an apartment block at 98-99 Francis Street. The listed equal shareholders here are Ryan and Patten, although both stepped down as directors at the end of 2016 to be replaced by Conor Ryan and John Gallagher.
Last year the company was refused permission to change the use of the apartments in Francis Street to short-term use.
In New Romantic, Patten describes herself as “lead designer” and, according to the firm’s website, she likes to “create what I like to wear and what I think strong, confident women of today would like to wear”. The good news is that New Romantic appeals “amazingly” to “women of all ages”. Meanwhile Julieann Fearon, “a passionate and determined businesswoman”, is described as the “yin to Niamh’s yang”.
Given Ryan’s major interest in the international aviation sector through the likes of Viva Aerobus, it is presumably purely coincidental that a company 50%-owned by Fearon has just changed its name from Tipperary Chandeliers and Lighting Ltd to Alhambra Aviation Ltd.